BATTLE plans against the government's controversial academy programme were drawn up this evening at a public meeting of the Bolton Anti-Academy Alliance.

The alliance is made up of the Bolton branch of the National Union of Teachers, Bolton Association of the NASUWT – National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers – and Bolton Unison.

They are urging parents and governors to join them to stop businesses and outside organisations from getting a foothold into schools.

Academy schools are publicly funded independent schools.

Schools which are not performing well risk being taken over by businesses or outside organisations and are moved out of local authority control.

The government claims this raises standards.

Tonight's meeting was held at Westhoughton Community Centre and was attended by 20 union representatives.

Julia Simpkins, secretary of Bolton branch of the NUT, said: “Education is at the heart of local education authority schools, academies have money at the heart of everything they do.”

Unions agreed to take their campaign into the community to explain to local people their fears about academy schools.